Sep 01, 2011

BlogHer: Implementing Community Features on Your Blog

As a blogger, when it comes to building a brand, your community plays an important role.

“Community is a brand extension,” said Sara Rosso, with VIP Services of Automattic. “Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Maybe just work on profiles for now or just the forums. You don’t have to turn on everything. You can test things slowly and see if you need to turn on more features.”

Rosso (@rosso) has two blogs, Ms. Adventures in Italy and When I Have Time. She was among the three-person panel speaking about blogger implementation of community features during the recent BlogHer conference in San Diego.

Blogger Adria Richards (@adriarichards) told the audience that it helps build communities and stimulate readers when you stay active within the community.

She encouraged bloggers to survey their readers. Ask them about their likes and dislikes. What could be done differently or better.

Reinforcing the point early on, Richards drew in the BlogHer audience by taking an informal poll on the blog platforms that the audience was using.

Roughly 95 percent of the bloggers in the room were users of WordPress. (That was interesting.) One-third had a BlogHer account. Already, common ground — and a community — was established in the room.

Holly Hamann (@hollyhamann), co-founder of BlueFrog, encouraged bloggers in the audience to reward their super users of their blogs.

“They’re community leaders,” Hamann said. “Recruit your superfans. You could have five or 10 community leaders. On Blogfrog, they have a special avatar. You can designate your community leaders.”

Here are some helpful tweets that came out of community features session (#bh11addcommunity):

  • Via @sofiaquintero: People hear “open source,” they think “free.” I think “community-developed” by people with common vision. – @adriarichards #bh11addcommunity
  • Via @debrasimpson: Book suggestion – “Don’t Make Me Think” – Steve Krug #bh11addcommunity #blogher11
  • Via @debrasimpson: Charging for content – better to have 10,000 free engaged mbrs vs 100 non-active pd mbrs #bh11addcommunity
  • Via @debrasimpson: When planning community look at where you want to be in a year not tomorrow #bh11addcommunity
  • Via @eva_smith: Q: Best way to filter community? A. Know your audience, connect the people, build the trust, become the glue #bh11addcommunity

Christine Cube is a media relations manager for PR Newswire and freelance writer. You can follow her @cpcube.

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